by Tamar Kay
Copyright © Tamar Kay.
This month I'll address a couple
of questions that I was recently asked. If you have questions
or issues that you'd like me to explore, please write to me,
anonymously if you wish.
Standard disclaimer: this is
only my opinion. Consider what I say and see if it makes sense
to you, but remember that some answers work for some people and
not for others. You must ultimately do what you feel is right
When I meet someone I think might
be kinky, how much is okay to say? What's reasonable to ask?
How do I make sure that I don't give offense?
Much depends on where and how
you meet such a person. For example, if it happens to be a co-worker
(depending on where you work), even if he or she dresses in leather
and chains and sports a whip on Fridays, you may want to be circumspect
before asking questions that will give away your own level of
If you're at RCDC or some other
kinky event, it's reasonable to assume some level of interest
on the other person's part -- at least a desire to explore. If
you are polite, there's nothing wrong with asking someone what
his or her interests are.
Of course, such a discussion
may be too personal for some (while others may talk your ears
off), so you should always gracefully accept a reluctance to
discuss such things. Be especially sensitive to newcomers, who
may not know what's expected of them. Make sure that they do
not feel compelled to go beyond their limits in discussing their
interests. It is the responsibility of the more experienced community
members to make sure that newcomers are as comfortable as possible.
If you're in a coffee shop and
that leather-clad nymph at the other table has you so curious
you can't help yourself, try asking about the cause of your suspicion.
Sometimes the direct approach works: "nice handcuffs. Ever
use them?" Or: "I recognize your leather pride pin.
Are you active in the community?"
Remember that the traditional
symbols of our community -- collars, chains, leathers, handcuffs,
piercings -- have become very popular as fashion items among
people who have little or no interest in power exchange or SM.
Always be polite and friendly, and be careful of asking questions
you're not willing to answer.
I'm going to a play party for
the first time. Everyone keeps telling me that I'm not expected
to actually do anything. Why do they keep reassuring me? Should
I be worried?
If it's a dungeon party given
by a responsible member of the community, you have nothing to
worry about. Many parties have a "no play the first time"
policy that is intended to give you a chance to get familiar
with that particular dungeon's rules and atmosphere.
As for the reassurances, lots
of newcomers are understandably nervous before their first dungeon
party. No matter how much you know, what books you've read, or
what you've heard, the first time is the first time, and it can
be nerve-wracking, as it was for me. At my first party I felt
terribly awkward. Only after I met friendly folks did I begin
to relax. Remember that a few kind words can go a long way toward
easing a newcomer's fears.
It takes time to assimilate a
new culture. If you're new, take that time. Listen and watch.
If you have questions, ask them. The basic rules for dungeon
parties usually include these: watch scenes from a respectful
distance, never intrude in someone else's scene, and don't touch
anything -- or anyone -- that isn't yours. Every dungeon varies
slightly, so study the rules you're given carefully.
Copyright © Tamar Kay.
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